NEW YORK – Brian Leetch knows a thing or two about winning a Stanley Cup. The Hall of Fame defenseman won a championship, and the Conn Smythe Trophy, with the New York Rangers back in 1994.
While he may have left his mark on Broadway, Leetch capped off his NHL career where he had previously played college hockey for the Boston College Eagles, with the Boston Bruins. That last NHL season for the blueliner was only the second year for future honored member Patrice Bergeron. Now Bergeron is going for his second Stanley Cup with Boston as the Bruins face off against the St. Louis Blues in the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final.
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Sporting News recently spoke with the former Bruins defenseman on Bergeron, the ‘Perfection Line’ and what the Bruins need to do to win the franchise’s seventh Stanley Cup.
Sporting News: You played with Bergeron back when he was beginning his career. How impressed are you from then to now?
Brian Leetch: I still text Patrice during the season and during different games, just to remind him, just a pat on the back cause he does everything so professionally, doesn’t search the spotlight, you know going looking for it, just continues to play.
I tell all my youth hockey players, I said, ‘ you want to watch a player and [learn] how to play hockey, watch Patrice Bergeron’. And I live in Boston so these kids are all watching Bruins and I said ‘that’s your guy at both ends of the ice type of person’.
He’s one of those guys that I was worried about in the middle of his career with the concussions and I was kind of scared for him because I know how dangerous those can be going forward for the rest of your life. But to see him take the time and to come back and still be that top player and play so good year in and year out, it’s exciting.
To live right around the corner from the Garden, I’ve got Bruins players in the area but to have a guy like that to root for is exciting to me. I’m still a hockey fan, a Patrice Bergeron fan and to see good people, good player get rewarded like this, it’s exciting.
SN: What’s it like watching him play with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak?
Leetch: It’s beautiful hockey to watch.
You can’t manufacture that. People have to see the game a certain way together and you have to be able to play off each other’s strengths and it’s a fun, fun line to watch.
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SN: Got a prediction?
BL: I think if the Bruins win the special teams battle again like they have in earlier rounds, they’ll win. Five-on-five, I think it’s going to be tough. I think it’s a close game 5-on-5.
The goaltending – [Jordan] Binnington is playing really well, [Tuukka] Rask is playing really well, but [if] the Bruins continue like that on the power play I think they’ll win it.
SN: Obviously being in Boston, they’ve won a lot of championships lately.
BL: That’s all they do, the city of Boston. That’s all they do.